Explore the most popular cross country skiing trails in Adirondack Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

My family and I hiked this loop counterclockwise, starting up the Gill Brook Trail/Elk Pass to Nippletop then over to Dial and back down Bear Den Mt and the HG Leach Trail. In our opinion this was definitely the way to do it. The Gill Brook Trail is beautiful and very easy to walk, the ground is soft and just roots, no large rocks that are typical of the high peaks until you get up closer to the ascent of Nippletop. The trail from Nippletop to Dial was fairly easy, mostly downhill with a quick ascent to the summit of Dial. Coming back down BDM and the HG Leach Trail was much steeper than we anticipated after seeing everyone say this was the less-steep path. Most of the trail was dry when we hiked, only muddy the top 1/3 of the trail probably. Overall a great hike, we had perfect weather. 9 hours roundtrip.

Awesome hike!

hiking
13 days ago

Very organize insect population at the top. As soon as you step foot on the rock at the top, an alert goes out, and every gnat, mosquito, and black fly within a 2 mile radius wants to meet you. Bring bug spray!! Beautiful view from the top!

Trail has quite a few ups and downs to it. I had gone clockwise which is usually against my better judgement as I like to get my elevation out of the way first if possible. I went in this direction because if I had enough steam and the sky cleared up (as it was raining out), I was going to hit up fish hawk cliffs and Indian Head. I had plenty of steam left after descending Elk Pass but it had begun to rain heavily. I will be back for those on a clearer day.

Trail was a little wet. Near the Nippletop summit it was quite muddy. No views above 3500 ft. due to low hanging clouds. The only view I had all day was from the Noonmark shoulder looking up at Bear Den, Dial, and Nippletop. Elk Pass had some brand new traversing boards to walk over the anticipated mud wallows which were nice.

I keep hearing about how steep the Elk Pass trail up to Nippletop is, but honestly it wasn't too bad. In my opinion: the Seward Mountain Trail (off Seward Mtn), Panther Brook Trail (off Panther in the Santanoni's), Cold Brook Trail (Marshall's shoulder), and the Slide Brook Trail (off Macomb in the Dix) are more notable for difficulty. I'm wondering if this one gets more attention due to the volume of hikers using it vs. the others. This is not to say it is not steep- it is. It is just well maintained, easy to follow, water re-routes off the trail are great, and if you take your time (especially when it is raining) you'll be fine. Big plus in that I did not see any of that slick, red moss that plagues hikers on steep, heavily saturated, sun-soaked ascents/descents!

hiking
18 days ago

Hiked this yesterday morning from the Garnet Hill Lodge Ski Shack. Nice easy trail through the GHL property to State Land. Trail up the hill was pretty tame and in great shape. There was no blow down and only a few muddy spots. The view from the top was spectacular. We stopped at GHL for lunch, what a treat. This would be a great family hike.

wasn't as kid friendly as I expected

hiking
19 days ago

Short and sweet but somewhat taxing steepness at times. Best view is not really at the summit but moreso at the top of the red trail

on Baker Mountain

hiking
22 days ago

Beautiful views at the top. Mud and some steep uphill sections made this a bit of a difficult moderate although it’s a short trail. SO many bugs already though (Memorial weekend)- bring bug spray and patience! As some other reviewers recommended, we went up on the left and down on the right side of the loop. I wish we had just gone out and back on the right side. It was far more enjoyable and scenic!

Fantastic trail. Rocky on the climb but not bad. Only a bit of snow/ ice at the pass as of 5/23, but slippery.

hiking
28 days ago

Great hike! We did this with our dog and really enjoyed the hike. Great views at the top!

Great climb, although no view on a cloudy day.

It’s a beautiful hike!!!

Awesome little trail. Stayed at lake colden under my tarp for a quick in and out overnighter, it rained the whole time but it was fun nontheless. I definitely have no idea why this trail is rated hard though, there's a few rock scrambles that kids or older people (maybe some smaller dogs) might have trouble with at avalanche lake, but other than that it's mostly flat.

hiking
1 month ago

Trail is finally dry but bugs have come out. Definitely should have brought the spray with me. Please- people with dogs, remember to remove dog poop from the trail and either keep them on leash or hold them when people pass. Twice on my hike, wet dogs that were off leash had jumped up on me. Not everyone likes your dog as much as you do. This is a popular hike full of people and tourists (especially now that the weather is breaking), adjust accordingly.

hiking
1 month ago

GREAT easy hike! Nice view at the top, all of the previously mentioned ice has melted.

hiking
1 month ago

Great trail. Bring a stick to help cross the stream since it is slippery. Also , do not follow the snowmobile trail. The map at the trailhead says the snowmobile trail leads to the lake but it does not.

hiking
1 month ago

wanted a moderate hike...showed up to 8-10 inches of snow on the trail. walked about 4 miles. was pretty in the snow but didn't poke around much.

GREAT trail! I especially liked the bouldering along the lake. Started at the Adirondak Loj/Heart Lake. We camped at the tip of Lake Colden to try out some gear for a backpacking trip. Beautiful hike and mostly flat, just have to negotiate some large rocks. Definitely want to get back out on this one.

Extremely challenging especially in these winter like conditions we are still experiencing in NYS. I would like to experience it again when the weather is nicer. Also, we did the loop trail but AllTrails glitched while we were out there so half of the hike is missing. We did this in 11 hours if you are starting the timing from the registry.

2 months ago

icy the whole way up but worth it for the views.

Completed this hike yesterday. Great view on Nippletop! This hike took me 10 hours. I used spikes, snowshoes, and crampons. Came back through Gill Brook trail for as long as I could before getting back to Lake Road. A bit over 15 miles..

snowshoeing
3 months ago

We hiked only to Stony Pond but is well worth the 4 miles round trip. Lean to is in great shape and would be a wonderful spot for an overnight.

Nice hike with good views
Not difficult though the trail was somewhat icy going up
Spikes essential
Decent was easy snowy trail with little ice

hiking
3 months ago

Completed Baker in and out in about 1 hour. Very very icy...not sure how anyone could complete this hike without crampons. Lovely view at top.

hiking
3 months ago

Great mountain for starters!! Winter hikers I recommend using crampons, there is plenty of ice on the trail. However, the other side of the loop seemed a bit easier.

hiking
4 months ago

I loved this Mountain way more in Winter than Summer. Did some bushwhacking on the way up and the whole way down.

In response to others comments: Yes this is an easy mountain. There were rocks!?! Really!? On a mountain? No kidding...

Brutal winter hike if you go take alltrail's suggestion and do Nippletop first, but i imagine its a matter of preference if you want to get most of the climbing done asap. Trail from Elk Pass up to Nippletop is mostly ice. You will need decent spikes for this. Regular microspikes wont cut it as the couple a few dozen feet behind me found out (they had to quit halfway up because they couldnt make it up a particularly icy spot and i didnt have rope to help them). Also make sure to wear snowshoes since whatever isnt ice is 3-4 feet of fluffy snow, and if you stray 3 inches off the narrow packed down trail you will immediately posthole up to your waist. Once you get to Nippletop Summit the views are amazing and definitely worth the strenuous climb. The trail to Dial and over Bear Den is pretty easy from here (but keep your snowshoes on), with a little more climbing up to Noonmarks shoulder. There are also plenty of spots steep enough on the descent that you can literally sit down and butt slide 20-100 feet at a time to save energy (just use an ice axe or trekking poles to steer and stop) and have some fun. The only downside to this hike is the long approach up the access road you have to walk, but otherwise the views and the trail are 10/10

Accidentally took this trail at first, but we stuck with it and turns out it was very worth it! The lake was frozen over, we walked the entire length of it over the ice through the valley. We passed the dike walls, and the steep rocks while crossing the lake. Was surreal views. I plan on visiting this trail in the summer to see the lake when it is actually water! Would recommend to see this in the winter (even if you don’t walk across the ice).

hiking
5 months ago

I would not call this trail easy if you are a new hiker. It rained earlier that day when we hiked so that added to the difficulty. Starts out right away if you take the right fork, straight climb, all the way up so just be aware.

hiking
5 months ago

Fun easy hike. Would be great for someone's first hike in the Dacks or looking for a warm up. There was 3 good outlooks near the summit. We hiked with a good base of snow. Used microspikes. Definitely need some kind of traction. Snowshoes would have been fun too. I want my mom to do this one - good mom hike.

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